Three Days After Expressing Support For Edgerly, Dellums Suspends Her As City Administrator

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday June 27, 2008 - 08:59:00 PM

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums has placed City Administrator Deborah Edgerly on administrative leave effective immediately, removing her from all duties until her previously announced retirement July 31. 

The mayor named former mayoral Budget Director Dan Lindheim as acting city administrator. Since the retirement of Oakland's Community & Economic Development Agency Director Claudia Capio earlier this year, Lindheim has been serving as interim CEDA Director. 

In a letter sent by Dellums to Edgerly today and released by the mayor’s office to the press, the mayor told the embattled city administrator, “Yesterday, we collectively agreed that going on administrative leave is in your best interest and the best interest of the city. While I understand you wanted to get back to me by Monday, these matters are too significant to the well-being of Oakland going forward, as a result I feel compelled to bring closure to this matter.” 

No specific reason has been given for the city administrator’s removal, or the mayor’s abrupt turnaround from the position on Edgerly’s employment he took only three days ago. Edgerly has been under fire stemming from a June 7 West Oakland incident in which she briefly intervened while Oakland police officers were in the process of towing a car that had been driven by her nephew, 27-year-old William Lovan. Ten days following that towing, Lovan was arrested with 53 other suspects in an Oakland police sweep of the West Oakland Acorn gang. 

Last Tuesday, Dellums had announced what he called the long-planned retirement Edgerly, whom he called his “good friend.” Although the mayor refused to answer reporters’ questions following that press conference, a spokesperson for the mayor said later that the mayor had found nothing in an investigation surrounding the June 7 events and the Acorn gang arrests to justify removing Edgerly from her position. 

But the announcement did not stop the controversy. The two days following Tuesday’s mayoral press conference have been filled with undocumented and unconfirmed media accusations that Edgerly “may have” tipped off her nephew in advance of the June 17 Acorn arrests, as well as angry charges from several city councilmembers that the mayor had not briefed them on the Edgerly situation. 

In an email sent out shortly after the mayor’s announcement today, District 1 Councilmember Jane Brunner said that she supported the mayor’s decision. 

“When I heard that there was an investigation regarding Ms. Edgerly, I called the mayor and suggested that he put her on administrative leave while the facts are sorted out,” Brunner said, adding, “Even though I care for Ms. Edgerly, I believe that she needs to be placed on administrative leave until all of the facts come out and there is a determination of her responsibility in this very unfortunate matter.” 

Brunner said in her email that the council expects to be briefed by the mayor’s office on the Edgerly matter at a special city council meeting on Monday, June 30.